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American Life: August/Summer Holiday

A few words about summer.

Welcome back to our August edition of American life. Today I would just like to talk about how my family (mostly) and other families spend this hot month of summer. 


August is the only month of the year where there are no holidays, or special calendar events. Every other month has something interesting or fun on the calendar. America is a multi-cultural society but it is predominantly Christian, and as such most holidays on the calendar are Christian or National holidays. In Japan we celebrate Obon in August. Obon is a holiday where people pay respect and pray for their ancestors. There is no such widely recognized holiday in the US. I am sure many other countries have similar holidays but in America August is mostly used for vacationing.


Growing up, school started in September (next month.) But gradually over the years, schools across America have been opening from the last week in August. Either way, August remains one of the biggest vacation months of the year for American families. As a child, in August, I remember we would do different things every year, but repeat our favorite activities. During summer holiday we vacationed in the mountains, beach and the state of Maine (near Canada). No matter where we went, summers were always adventurous.


Some years my family would go to the mountains in Northern Pennsylvania for a week and rent a cabin along a lake. There we would go hiking, fishing, boating and swimming in a big river. It was always so fun to go exploring the forest of an unfamiliar area. The weather in the North Eastern part of America where I am from is very hot and humid. In the mountains the air was always much fresher and cooler. We could see wild bears and deer. Once a bear came to our cabin and my father chased it away by banging pots and pans together. It was exciting but scary. No one was hurt. I think the bear was as surprised as we were. Other years we would go to the beach and spend a few days there. My family and I preferred the mountains though. Just as Japanese families, coastal American families like to go on family trips to the beach or Mountains during summer holiday. 


As I grew up we stopped going to the beach as much and started driving to the state of Maine. Maine is very far from Pennsylvania but we would drive anyway. It took 16 to 21 hours to drive depending on how we went and if we made any stops. We would rent cabins with our extended family, aunts, uncles, cousins etc. Maine is famous for lobster so we would all cook lobster in big pots down by the ocean on big rocks. The beaches that are close to Canada are not sandy like other beaches. They are very rocky. The rocks are huge! Once my cousin and I took the boat out at night and we could hear a whale blowing water out of its blowhole but we couldn’t see it because it was dark. We were so scared because we were in a little rowboat. We paddled back to shore as fast as we could. We told our family but no one believed us until many years later.


We hope you have a wonderful summer holiday! Please let us know what you did! We can’t wait to hear all about your summer adventures.

 

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